AFC East loses Power Rankings supremacy

The NFC South has knocked the AFC East out of the divisional top spot in this week's installment of ESPN.com's Power Rankings.

The AFC East had a rough Week 16. Only one team won, and that was a division-on-division battery, causing the average poll position to drop and opening the door for the dynamic NFC South to regain supremacy entering the last weekend.

The New England Patriots crushed the Buffalo Bills but couldn't move up in the poll because they already were No. 1. The New York Jets and Miami Dolphins lost nonconference games.

The new divisional Power Rankings:

  1. NFC South

  2. AFC East

  3. NFC North

  4. AFC North

  5. NFC East

  6. AFC South

  7. AFC West

  8. NFC West

The mighty Power Rankings syndicate consists of senior writer John Clayton, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, AFC North blogger James Walker and NFC West blogger Mike Sando.

1. New England Patriots

Previous rank: 1

My take: No reason to debate this one. They own the NFL's best record, were No. 1 last week and dominated the otherwise plucky Bills in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

8. New York Jets

Previous rank: 5

My take: The Jets fell three spots without much quarrel from me. They were passed in the poll by the New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears, the team that beat them Sunday. The Jets are limping into the playoffs with three losses in their past four games.

18. Miami Dolphins

Previous rank: 17

My take: With the way the Dolphins have floundered, No. 18 seems generous. They finished their home schedule at 1-7. The last three home losses were to the No. 25 Cleveland Browns, No. 28 Bills and No. 24 Detroit Lions.

28. Buffalo Bills

Previous rank: 27

My take: The Bills had been gaining momentum for their first full offseason under the current front office. They'd won four out of six games, with one of the defeats against the Steelers in overtime. Then they walked into a Patriots buzz saw Sunday. I still think the Bills deserve to be higher than 27, though. They've beaten Nos. 18, 24 and 25.